Shawn began his Disney journey through the International College Program in 2012 at the Walt Disney World Resort. Since returning home, he has rejoined the Disney family at Shanghai Disney Resort. Building his career from working as an attractions host; he is now a manager. We took some time to hear from Shawn about his experiences and where he is now.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Yunnan province in southwest of China.
Q: Which program did you participate in? About when did you participate?
A: I participated in the International College Program from August 2012 through January 2013.
Q: Please describe your line of business during the program. Where did you work?
A: For the first three months, I was a Park Greeter at Epcot, and then the last three months, I worked in quick-service food and beverage at Electric Umbrella and Fountain View, also at Epcot.
Q: What apartment complex did you live in? What was your apartment like?
A: I lived in Vista Way. Luckily I shared a bedroom with my roommate in college and got to know some friends from Shanghai sharing that apartment. One of them, Bear, is also a cast member in Shanghai Disney Resort now.
Q: What would you say was the biggest adjustment you had to make from living at home to living in the United States?
A: I knew there were language differences and culture differences, but I blended in quickly and had a great time there. I guess the biggest adjustment from college life in China back then was cooking for myself, but I love cooking. I finally had time – I could cook for myself. How great was that!
Q: What was the most impactful experience that you had with a guest that you had or witnessed?
A: I believe people have heard so many magical stories; I just want to share a normal daily story from my time as a Park Greeter. My favorite time of the shift was when we were about to close and guests were leaving for the night. Seeing every one leaving with a smile on their face, waving at us, and some even came over to shake your hand, telling how grateful they are. You never know what they experienced in the park during the day, but there they are standing in front of you, sharing their happiness, expressing their gratitude, all because of what we did as a team. I always tell them, “You’re welcome! I’m glad you had a great day; that’s what we do!” This is the Disney Difference.
Q: There were plenty of housing events. Did you participate in any?
A: I went to the Thanksgiving and Service Celebration events. I wish I had gone to more of those events, a great way to know more friends!
Q: What did you do immediately after the completion after your program?
A: I went back to college, and kept in touch with Julie, a recruiter for Disney International Programs, asking about any opportunities in Shanghai. I graduated in 2014 and moved to Shanghai immediately after I heard about recruitment news that September.
Q: You are now on the leadership team with Shanghai Disney Resort! Congratulations! What do you and the rest of the leadership team manage?
A: Thank you! I am now a Guest Service Manager in Resort Transportation & Parking. Our team is in charge of the guest parking lot and Disney transportation; including shuttles on property, the ferry boat in Wishing Star Lake, and shuttles for cast members to and from the city.
Q: What as your journey to becoming a manager?
A: When I joined Shanghai Disney Resort, I was a cast member working in Attractions, Test & Adjust. I started in March 2015 at Soaring over the Horizon for a short time. I then started my journey at TRON Lightcycle Power Run in May [during its early stages allowing] me to learn a lot about TRON and knowledge about coaster rides to and became one of the first leaders in December 2015. My last day working at TRON, I walked with the first group of guests inside and rode with them during the operation trials. Definitely one of my most precious experiences!
On May 9, I officially joined the Resort Transportation & Parking team as a Guest Service Manager.
Q: If you can give any advice to someone that wants to either participate in a program or work at Shanghai Disney Resort, what would you suggest?
A: To those who are going to participate in a program, I want to say, enjoy it as best as you can. I took my program as a chance of learning from one of the best companies in the world. I learned a lot of Disney history and culture and how Disney conducts business.
And for someone wants to work at Shanghai Disney Resort, I want to say, learn the best you can! We are in early stages and your future with the company is infinite!